Conservative group calls 30,000 North Carolina voter registrations into question

Updated
By Jordan Michael Smith

A Tea Party-backed group called the “Voter Integrity Project” has alleged that as many as 30,000 dead individuals could still be on the North Carolina voting rolls. But as msnbc’s Rachel Maddow pointed out on Thursday’s The Rachel Maddow Show, the Project has integrity problems of its own.

The Project delivered to the state’s election board the names it identified as ineligible, saying that 90% of those persons should be taken off the voter list. Local media lauded the group—but when North Carolina’s board of elections reviewed the names, it found that less than 5,000 even merited a second look. And of those, not a single individual was found to have voted after they died, voted illegitimately, or even to have died at all.

The North Carolina Board of Elections checked voter records and death certificates, said Elections Liaison Veronica Degraffenreid, but “we haven’t found any instance of voter fraud.”

While the Voter Integrity Project is focused on North Carolina, similar groups are attempting voter roll purges in Ohio, California, Illinois and Arizona. The Project filed with the state as a business, allowing them to keep their tax returns private, despite describing itself to the public as a “non-profit organization.” Once Maddow pointed to the discrepancy, the Project took the non-profit claim off its website and apologized. 

Degraffenreid said the attempted voter purge was unprecedented. “This is a novel approach … we’ve never had a group come in before and challenge these number of voters at one time,” she said. The Board has been forced to devote some of its limited resources towards examining the Project’s claims, taking time and money away from their attempts to ensure that other aspects of the voting process are effective, efficient and fair. Still, the “North Carolina voter rolls are sound,” Degraffenreid said—whatever the Voter Integrity Project claims.

Conservative group calls 30,000 North Carolina voter registrations into question

Updated